Symantec’s Customer Champion Uses Customer Feedback to Drive Business Results


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We are so pleased to congratulate Desirree Madison-Biggs, Director, Customer Insight & Measurement at Symantec for being recognized by 1to1 Media as a 2010 Customer Champion. I can’t say I am surprised at this award, as Des truly embraces customer experience, and has helped drive significant improvement across all parts of their business. Symantec leads many organizations in Net Promoter adoption, constructing a customer-centric DNA and achieving tangible business results. I will highlight a few, followed by a Q&A discussion with Des on how they are achieving results.

  • Symantec has a comprehensive voice of the customer program with feedback coming from critical touch points through transactional processes, and relationship analysis across business customers, consumers, channel partners and employees. Once Des told me that looking at the business with just relationship data or just transactional data was like looking at the business with one eye closed.
  • Symantec has strong executive commitment from the CEO down and a disciplined accountability model to ensure action is taken to improve the customer experience. We share a clip from CEO Enrique Salem in our certification course as an example of an executive and a company who take action seriously.
  • Symantec finds creative ways to keep its voice of the customer program top of mind. There are several creative internal communication assets that have been deployed to keep employees informed on their progress. My personal favorite is the “Customer First News,” an audio webcast that provides employees with updates on their NPS performance, actions being taken to address performance gaps and business results achieved. Symantec engages employees across the business in delivering this message, showing that customer experience is owned by every employee.

There is much more I can say about Symantec’s success, but here’s some insight from the winner herself. Congratulations Des for this recognition, it is well deserved.

1. How does your organization use customer feedback to drive improvements?

For four years our Voice of the Customer program has utilized transactional support data and Net Promoter (relationship) data to gain a holistic view of the experience we provide our customers. These two key bodies of data complement each other well, particularly since relationship data tends to uncover issues that may not be identified through feedback provided to customer support teams. For example, if a customer has difficulty locating and accessing support, typically we wouldn’t collect this insight via transactional data since the only customers providing feedback would be those who had been able to obtain support in the first place. Relationship (or attitudinal) data also provides invaluable insight into other key business functions and metrics not specific to the support and product experiences, such as purchasing, brand awareness, and communications.

At Symantec, we use Net Promoter as a common metric that encourages collaboration between departments, eliminating silos in order to improve the customer experience and enhance loyalty. Symantec’s Engineering and Support teams have worked closely together to improve the Norton products as well as the overall customer experience. Product improvements have significantly reduced call volume and, when combined with the aggressive use of technology in support, have enhanced overall customer experience and improved market reputation as reflected in our recent 98% positive product reviews.

For us, NPS is more than just a score – it’s an enterprise-wide business strategy that helps us evaluate our interactions with customers at a variety of critical touch points and create differentiated experiences that our customers value.

2. Can you share any recent examples of how you have leveraged feedback to make improvements to your customers’ experiences?

Customer support satisfaction measured at the point of case closure is a leading indicator of NPS for our. Three to consumer products. Approximately three to six months after changes in support satisfaction, we see the impact in our NPS. This information validates that the support experience is an integral part of the overall customer experience and directly affects a customer’s loyalty to the brand.

Building on many years of improving our support features, in 2009 and 2010 we focused on making choices easier for customers. We made gaining access easier, streamlined automated support options, used clearer language, and developed richer content– resulting in a measureable increase in our ability to resolve customer issues online.

Now, when a Symantec customer opts to contact a service agent, our system gathers multi-layered data and funnels the user to the most appropriate contact – along with customer profile data the agent can use to create a personalized support experience. Using data management technology, our service agents are able to view a customer’s language, region, product, computing environment and product history as they offer support, which provides for a seamless experience.

As a result of customer feedback, we now offer assisted support via web chat, telephone and email. Thanks to structural and operational improvements we’ve made in our self-service and assisted support spheres, we have placed the “contact us” link on nearly every page of our support website. This has resulted not only in increased traffic, but also in increased customer satisfaction ratings and first-contact resolution rates.

With the launch of our 2010 product line, we began collecting data about errors and correlating it with information collected from our customers’ operating environments in order to develop solutions. With our closed-loop analysis and improvement method, we continue to publish additional knowledge base articles and to improve existing ones. Our Common Error Display (CED) product automatically detects errors, alerts customers to the issues, and offers immediate fixes, providing a way to get customers solutions at the very time they need them. As a result of these new tools, our online customer escalations are down 41% year over year.

3. Since Symantec has been at this a while, how do you keep the program fresh in the organization and maintain momentum?

We have found that the more success you have, the more there is to be gained elsewhere. Once you have a foundation of solid customer feedback, there are seemingly endless ways to use the data. We have three segments that we obtain insight from: consumer, business, and channel partners. We work on touch point improvements in all three, but in our business segment, we get down to the customer account level with the help our field sales team. They work with us to get feedback from their customers and then in turn we provide them with objective reports of how their customers perceive Symantec. That insight has proven invaluable to their action planning and has positively influenced millions of dollars in sales opportunities as a result.

Additionally, there are endless ways to make that insight meaningful to all levels of employees within the company. Measurement, reporting, and taking action are critical, but just as critical is the communication plan that is a big part of all of our programs. We work at keeping messages fresh, relevant, and sometimes even fun.

4. What is the next frontier for your program? Any new areas of innovation you can share?

Empowered Employees. At Symantec, our focus on customer loyalty is more than just a business practice – it is part of our company culture and our core brand values. In the Consumer Business Unit, under the auspices of the Norton Branded Customer Experience, we constantly pursue new ways to integrate customer-centricity into our organizational DNA.

For example, we are currently encouraging employee engagement around our Voice of the Customer program through a video campaign titled “I’m listening. Are you?” These video vignettes portray people being interviewed in a “man on the street” style to bring the Voice of the Customer alive, and to make it personal and emotional. Each segment covers a key customer expectation, such as “Wow me,” “Educate and guide me,” or “Can anyone help me?” The videos are featured on the Branded Customer Experience intranet site and are sent out each week in the Norton business unit newsletter.

Another way we encourage customer-centric behavior among our employees is by inviting them to submit customer experience issues and suggested improvements through the “Idea Bank” database. Employees enter their ideas via a short form that is automatically routed to our Branded Customer Experience Champions, who then review, prioritize and forward to owners of the actual processes or parts of the business to take action. Employees who submit ideas are kept informed of the idea review process as well as the status of their submissions. This empowers employees to take an active role in supporting Symantec’s customer experience platform. The more they recognize the role they play in earning and maintaining loyal, happy customers, the better equipped they will be to support Symantec’s business goals.

Finally, we recognize that employees are the best ambassadors for Symantec. Not only do we encourage all employees to use our consumer products, we enable them to be a conduit to support wherever and whenever they might encounter a customer who has an issue for which they need assistance. We created the Customer Assistance Tool which is accessible through our internal portal. This global tool has a direct interface into customer support allowing anyone in the company to open a case on behalf of not only our consumer products, but our business products as well. This tool has encouraged thousands of employees to take the extra step and connect with customers and confidently say ‘I can help you with that’ should the need ever arise.

5. What are the most critical success factors for achieving success with Net Promoter?

  • In order to achieve a 360 degree view of the experience you provide customers, it is essential to complement transactional data with attitudinal (relationship) data collected using a common metric that all employees can understand. For Symantec, NPS is the standard.
  • Executive sponsorship and cross-functional collaboration are key to enabling operational and structural improvements that will enhance overall customer experience and drive growth across your enterprise.
  • Engaged employees are an invaluable resource. You will be well-served to integrate customer-centricity into every thread of your organizational DNA and empower employees to take an active role in supporting your customer experience platform. The more clearly your employees recognize the role they play delivering a superior customer experience, the better equipped they will be to support your overall business goals.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Deborah Eastman
Deborah has spent her career with a passion for customer success. As the Chief Customer Officer at Satmetrix her responsibilities include thought leadership development, consulting, certification training, and continuous improvement of the Satmetrix experience. She is a frequent speaker and blogger on Net Promoter and Customer Experience.


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